bunt sign

February 26, 2000

No lousy rainy winter weather was going to keep me in today. Since I work at home, I stay in all week. I often stay in on Saturday, too, just because I have no good reason to leave the house. But Mom and I had decided we wanted to see The Cider House Rules at the matinee showing (half-price, or nearly). I know she would have let me off the hook, because she called just as I was getting ready to leave the house. But I've been sort of energized for the last few days, and I really wanted to do something, even if it was just sitting in a crowded theater for two hours.

I don't know where the energy came from, because when it rains I usually wilt like soggy lettuce. Maybe it was the fact that my most recent battle with constipation came to an end (so to speak). Or maybe I'm finally seeing some results from the Slim-Fast diet; I was down to 152 this morning, which is nine pounds below where I started about a month ago. Most likely I got revved up by finishing the Big Project that the Boss has been after me to get done. Whatever, I wasn't up for sitting around all day.

As I was on the freeway headed across town to Mom's, I had second thoughts when I was temporarily blinded by the downpour. And the forecasters said it was going to get worse later in the day, with heavy winds thrown in for added excitement. Traffic was a little frenzied, but I didn't even yell at anyone. Okay, one guy who kept speeding up to 60 then slowing down to 45 for no good reason. I think he was doing something other than just driving.

If anything, the drive down to Rohnert Park was even worse. I stuck to the back roads as much as possible, so traffic wasn't bad. But my windows got so badly fogged up that I had to roll down the side window before making a turn. My car is eleven and a half years old, and the defroster works just as well as the day I got it. Which is to say, hardly at all. The higher I turn up the heat and the fan, the better it does work, but that makes it like driving through the Sahara when the siroccos are blowing. Then when you have to roll down the window to see, you're suddenly transported back to Sonoma County in February.

We made it, against all odds, and enjoyed the movie. Tobey Maguire — what great casting. His open, guileless face is perfect for the innocence of Homer Wells. It's a beautiful film, really, and yes, I did cry, which makes it an automatic thumbs up as far as I'm concerned. I like something that makes me feel, even if the source of the feeling is artificial.

The tempest we'd been promised hadn't materialized by the time the movie let out, so the drive back was uneventful. Potholes and ditches were filling up, though, and there are bound to be some streets flooding if the rain keeps up much longer. I could find myself a little less eager to go out if I have to drive through standing water to get anywhere. I've done that, and it left me wondering where the lifeboats were stowed. My little Honda isn't much of a flotation device.

It does no good to tell me how sweet it smells after a rain, or how good it is for the crops. I know these things, and I accept that life on earth would cease without the gentle spring rains. I can't help that rainy days make me feel as if I'm living in a dank, dark cave with fungus growing on the wall and bats and beetles and bandicoots all around.

Okay, if I don't stop I'll talk myself into another midwinter depression. I just have to remember that it's less than a month until spring. The sun is staying out later already, at least on days when it comes out at all. And I live in Northern California, where the weather never stays bad for more than three days in a row. In the summer even if we have two or three sweltering days when you can't even move for sticking to yourself, we know the fog is bound to roll in the next day. And this time of year it can rain steadily for a couple of days, but the next morning the sun makes a heroic comeback.

I rewarded myself for making it in out of the rain tonight with a big bowl of chili. I know it isn't the best thing for someone trying to lose weight, but it's one of the best things for a person who's tired and cold and hasn't had anything but chicken and pasta for a month. Tomorrow it'll be back to the routine, but tonight this just felt right.

About an hour after I'd scarfed down the chili, Grady from next door called. He was ordering a pizza and wanted to know if I'd like some. This was after eight, which would have been a little late for a meal. It's never really too late for pizza, but I'm sticking to eating just one meal a day, even if that one meal is greasy and loaded with empty calories. I didn't really want to go out in the rain again anyway.

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